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ACL INJURIES ACL INJURIES IN YOUNG ATHLETES ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) knee injuries can cause many problems for kids who play sports. Besides the chance of having to sit out

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  • WHY DO ACL INJURIES OCCUR IN KIDS?

    ACL INJURIES

    Most ACL tears do not occur from

    player-to-player contact. The most

    common causes of noncontact ACL

    injury include: change of direction

    or cutting maneuvers combined with

    sudden stopping, landing awkwardly

    from a jump, or pivoting with the knee

    nearly fully extended when the foot is

    planted on the ground.

    A C L I N J U R I E S I N YO U N G A T H L E T E S

    ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) knee injuries can cause many problems for

    kids who play sports. Besides the chance of having to sit out an entire season,

    they might face loss of scholarship funding, lowered academic performance,1

    and long-term disability from

    osteoarthritis (a painful joint

    condition). More than 50,000

    debilitating ACL injuries occur in

    female athletes at the high school

    and intercollegiate varsity levels in

    an average year.

    SPORTS TIPS

    STOP SPORTS INJURIES — Keeping Kids in the Game for Life | www.STOPSportsInjuries.org

  • Copyright © 2013. American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. All rights reserved.

    There is no definitive link between age and gender, and the rising rates of ACL injuries. However, landing, cutting, and pivoting maneuvers have been shown to differ between male and female athletes. For example, some female soccer players may perform playing actions with more of a knock-kneed position, or a reduced hip and knee joint range of motion, or decreased hamstring strength, any of which may underlie their increased risk for an ACL injury.

    Teri McCambridge, M.D. Gregory D. Myer, Ph.D.

    1Orthopedics, January 2010 - Volume 33 · Issue 1

    STOP SPORTS INJURIES — Keeping Kids in the Game for Life | www.STOPSportsInjuries.org

    WHO IS AT RISK FOR AN ACL INJURY?

    HOW CAN AN ACL INJURY BE PREVENTED?

    It is difficult to assess how athletes can best modify their movements to prevent noncontact ACL injuries. Speaking with an athletic trainer, physical therapist, or sports medicine specialist is a good place to start. Recent research has allowed therapists and clinicians to easily identify and target weak muscle areas (e.g., weak hips, which leads to knock-kneed landing positions) and identify ways to improve strength and thus help prevent injury. In addition, other risk factors such as reduced hamstring strength and increased joint range of motion can be further assessed by a physical therapist or athletic trainer to improve performance—or rehabilitation efforts after an injury has occurred.

    Current studies also demonstrate that specific types of training, such as jump routines and learning to pivot properly, help athletes prevent ACL injuries. These types of exercises and training programs are more beneficial if athletes start when they are young. It may be optimal to integrate prevention programs during early adolescence, prior to when young athletes develop certain habits that increase the risk of an ACL injury.

    There are several factors that determine whether or not a young athlete will get an ACL injury. Preseason screening programs that monitor important risk factors and identify young “high-risk” athletes who would benefit from targeted neuromuscular training interventions may be the most beneficial way to reduce the risk of ACL injuries in young athletes.

    SUMMARY

    EXPERT CONSULTANTS

    REFERENCES

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